Who's Essential?

With a government shutdown looming, the distinction between “essential” and “non-essential” employees must once again be made. Anarchists will be saddened to learn that the government’s definition of “non-essential” workers is not, unsurprisingly, as comprehensive as their own. According to “The New York Times”,President Obamamembers of Congress, presidential appointees, and specific judicial appointees are “not subject to furlough.” (The fact the Times felt it necessary to state that the President would not be furloughed tells you what it thinks about the intelligence of its readers). Quite understandably, IRS agents will still be waiting for your money on the 15th, though, for some reason, their colleagues who issue remittance checks will not be needed. The restoration of other people’s property has never been the government’s forte. Indeed, it’s fitting that the possible government shutdown coincides with the annual dunning of the American taxpayer, though I can’t say that I’m dreading the suspension of government services, seeing as I won’t be visiting any national parks or museums in the near future.

                The frustrating thing is that the determination of who is essential and non-essential is left to members of congress and the President. Naturally, they’re reluctant to declare themselves non-essential. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if an efficiency expert could humble those responsible for doing the humbling by identifying a few elected officials who are non-essential? Before you object to furloughing members of Congress, remember that they, with their interminable summer and winter breaks have no problem furloughing themselves. Also, I wouldn’t withhold their pay; on the contrary, I’d increase it, and, if they were so good as not to return when the shutdown ended, I’d give them any sinecure they wanted. I say this only partially in jest, for I’ve run out of ideas as to how we get rid of people like Rangel and Kerry. As the voters refuse to dismiss them, perhaps it’s time to see if they want a sweeter pension than they already have.